First Look at Maryland-Florida Atlantic

I don't really have enough time to do a legitimate, full preview, but I will post some post-Christmas thoughts on Maryland's next opponent, Florida Atlantic.

First off, this team has already seen marked improvement from last season, when they had just two wins. Mike Jarvis is a quick rebuilder apparently, and has already amassed more than twice last year's win total. That said, this team still isn't great, and has some troubling losses on the resume.

Two of the five wins on the year have come against D-II opponents, and one of those had to be won in overtime. They lost to some exceedingly average (or bad, depending on your outlook) teams: SE Louisiana, Manhattan, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Georgia. They fell to Miami - a team with a talent level similar to Maryland's - by 18.

These guys are easily better than Winston-Salem State, but not by a whole lot. They'll have a solid team in the future, that's for sure, but they're not close to reaching it.

Heading the effort for FAU is Raymond Taylor, a diminutive 5-6 freshman guard that is lightning quick and can score in bunches. He's averaging 17.6 points per game, and poured in 23 against Miami, albeit on a poor shooting night. He's the type of guy that can give Greivis Vasquez fits defensively and is quick enough to break the press; at the same time, Greivis has a ridiculous height advantage on the other side of the floor, and if he can just stay in front of Taylor it'll be tough to get a shot off. The fact he's a freshman is also encouraging, particularly because he's the leader of the team. Get him shaky, and the entire operation falls apart.

This should be a game in which Jordan Williams shines, provided he's given time. FAU isn't working with a lot in terms of big men, starting Brett Royster (6-8) as the premier big man. He has decent size and some experience, but his stats are relatively average. DeMonte Simpson (6-9) is big man #2, and while he has ideal size and is productive in somewhat limited minutes, he's a freshman and was ranked significantly lower than Williams. If JWill gets enough time, I could see this being double-double number two.

All told, I'm not too concerned about this one. Sure, the ultra-quick guard can cause problems, but rarely does the freshman version of such topple giants (not that Maryland's a giant, but whatever). If FAU is close, I'm banking on experience over a young, rebuilding squad. That's not to say they will be particularly close, but I'm guessing Taylor will keep them in the building. Final answer: Maryland wins, 82-61.

NB: This game isn't televised. A link might be available somewhere, but I'll likely be on the road.

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